Words By: Alexia Kapralos
Release Date: April 7, 2015, via Razor & Tie Recordings
Dark, emotional, and heavy: these three words sum up the essence of The Lovers/The Devil, which is the sophomore album release of American metal band, Sworn In. Following up 2013’s The Death Card, this is also their second full-length album to be released via Razor & Tie Recordings and contains the first and only song by the band to contain zero swears (“Pins And Needles”). But creating a song with no curse words wasn’t the only new territory for the band because The Lovers/The Devil is also a concept album, containing a storyline.
The story behind this album, as vocalist Tyler Dennen describes, is about the binary nature of relationships; he says that everybody has a lover and a devil inside of them, and are capable of expressing both sides. The album is divided in half: “The Lovers” side and “The Devil” side. The Lovers side musically conveys the story of a man losing his mind and facing mental agony over unreciprocated love. This half of the album expresses themes of desperation, sadness, helplessness, and the feeling of reaching your breaking point. On the contrary, The Devil side flips the former storyline 180 degrees – it’s about role reversal. It deals with the man snapping out of his hopelessness and lust, and becoming an angry, bitter, hardened person – like the type of person who drove him to that state. The man becomes the devil and the woman becomes the lover that he once was. Their relationship has met its expiration date. But is it about anyone in particular? Well, in an interview featured on YouTube, drummer Chris George clarifies that The Lovers/The Devil isn’t directed toward anyone specific, but takes the general experiences of the band members as inspiration.
The album starts off with “Sweetheart.” Dennen’s low, clean-style vocals are featured at the beginning of the song saying, “Oh sweetheart/Oh sweetheart/This is how we both start.” But don’t let this slow start deceive you because the track picks up with faster music, heavy instrumentals, and Dennen’s signature emotional wails, which continues throughout the duration of the album.
Now that listeners’ palettes have been primed, “Sugar Lips” then “I Don’t Really Love You” follow. Both of these songs also contain clean-style vocals, but rather than sounding deep and chant-like as they did in “Sweetheart”, it’s pure singing. Additionally both songs demonstrate lyrical themes about falling out of love, which really highlight The Lovers side’s them. Another fun fact: “I Don’t Really Love You” is one of the singles off the album, in addition to “Oliolioxenfree,” “Sunshine,” “Lay With Me,” and recently “Scissors.”
“Pins and Needles” is the turning point between The Lovers and The Devil sides. It serves as a lovely transition between the two halves of the album, bridging the sides together. It’s also one of the heavier songs on the album instrumentally, which is especially evident in the guitars and ending of the song when all mayhem seems to break loose.
A notable song on The Lovers/The Devil would definitely be “Scissors,” because of the dark vibe it carries in the haunting guitar riffs and lyrics about self-destruction in a relationship until the pieces fit together. “Scissors” also is the first song on the album to have a music video released. The visual darkness in the video adds an extra dimension to the lone audio of the tune. This song is reminiscent of the sounds of old-school My Chemical Romance, with a hint of Soundgarden and Deftones.
Another highlight is also the first single off the album, “Sunshine.” It’s written as a play on words to the well-known song, “You Are My Sunshine.” Instead, Dennen wrote the main lyric as “You are not my sunshine,” expressing distaste rather than love; this is typical for Sworn In – their music isn’t ever about a happily ever after; it’s all about releasing anger and purging negative emotions. This alone sums up the main undertones of “Sunshine,” even though the sound is a new route for the band. Some people find the difference in sound from other Sworn In music unsettling, yet fans are divided because it’s shiny and new.
The album ends off with “Love Drunk.” This song isn’t the strongest to have the album end with a bang, but it’s decent nonetheless.
All in all, this album is definitely a must-have for the music libraries of metal-heads. The change in direction is a refreshing turn for the band, and is a definite sign of their growth as musicians.
Sworn In has actually just concluded their first headlining tour in spirit of promoting this album, with The Plot In You, Gift Giver, and IDeclareWar. They will be touring on Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival this summer too, stopping at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre in Toronto on July 17th (tickets available here). The Lovers/The Devil can be purchased now!
Also check out our coverage from Sworn In at Rum Runners in London, ON !
- Sugar Lips
- I Don’t Really Love You
- Pins And Needles
- Lay With Me
- Weeping Willow
- Pocket Full of Posies
- Love Drunk